Camden Courier-Post - March 6, 1980

Bystrom reinjures leg


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


CLEARWATER, Fla. – Marty Bystrom was on the verge of making it to the major leagues. The 21-year-old righthanded pitcher, after only three seasons in the minors, was being touted as a good bet to make the Phillies' 25-man roster.


But Bystrom's chances of joining the Phillies' mound staff took a serious turn for the worst yesterday. Bystrom slipped on the cement floor in the clubhouse here at Carpenter Complex prior to the team's afternoon workout, aggravating an already-painful pulled hamstring muscle in his right leg.


Bystrom reported to the Phillies camp on Tuesday having already injured the leg while running wind sprints at his Miami home. He was expected to begin taking part in drills in a few days. After yesterday's mishap, however, his recovery will probably be delayed three to four weeks.


"I just slid in the hallway," said Bystrom, who was on crutches as he left the trainer's room. "I pulled it (the muscle) just last Thursday and it feels a lot worse than it did before."


Manager Dallas Green had made it a point to hype Bystrom whenever he could during the off-season and planned to use him extensively early in spring training.


"I wanted," said Green, "to show him off to the fans."


Bystrom sensed the Phillies would be giving him a huge opportunity during spring training. He had skyrocketed through their farm system, moving from their Single-A clubs of Spartanburg and Peninsula to Oklahoma City, their Triple-A team, in three seasons. Bystrom was 9-5 for the 89ers last year after making the difficult transition from Single-A to Triple-A ball.


This, it seemed, could be his year.


"At least," he said, "that's what I thought. I figured if I came here and did the job, I'd have a chance to stick. Now, it looks like I won't be ready in time. Things were looking good coming into camp until now."


Said Herm Starrette, the Phillies' pitching coach, "We were anxious to get him started and see what he could do. He had a chance of making the club, but this (the injury) will have a bearing on that because he'll have to start over."


PHIL UPS – Outfielder Lonnie Smith reported to camp yesterday, a day late… Smith had been delayed in arriving by a snowstorm.

Phils unanimous:  Back strike


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


CLEARWATER, Fla. – To most of the Phillies, the possibility of a players' strike was only a vague notion. Like an automobile accident, it was something that could – but wouldn't – happen to them.


But after a 2½-hour meeting yesterday with Marvin Miller, the director of the Major League Players Association, the idea that a strike would take place became quite clear.


Miller hammered home the reasons why the' executive board of the Players Association unanimously adopted a resolution Monday authorizing Miller to conduct a formal vote seeking ratification for a strike on or after April 1.


AND THE Phillies, the first of 26 major league teams to be polled by Miller, supported the resolution in a 40-0 show-of-hands vote. That means if the executive board decides to call a strike at a meeting scheduled in Dallas for April 1, the Phillies will walk a picket line.


"It was a good meeting and a bad meeting," said the Phillies' first baseman Pete Rose. "It was good in one respect because the players found out what they're really negotiating about. It was bad because it's a lot more serious than people think."


The negotiations between Miller' and representatives of baseball's owners seek a new basic agreement and revolved around three crucial owner proposals: a maximum salary guideline, free-agent compensation and the method in which the players' pension plan is funded.


MAXIMUM SALARIES proposed by the owners for players with less than six years experience range from $40,600 to $253,600. There were no such salary guidelines under the old basic agreement, which expired Dec. 31. The compensation formula calls for a team signing a free agent to provide the team losing him with a player from its 40-man roster. No more than 15 players may be protected. In the past, a team signing a free agent had to relinquish an amateur draft choice as compensation. The pension fund is currently supported through national television receipts. The owners want to come up with a different formula, not tied in with baseball's lucrative TV contract.


"Look," said shortstop Larry Bowa, "the owners are making a lot of money, believe me, a lot of money. They're trying to brainwash the public into thinking they're not making any money. If they're not, where do they get the money to sign all those big contracts?"


The feeling that the owners want to take away benefits the players already have is perhaps the biggest reason why it is crucial to the players' cause to support Miller wholeheartedly.


"WE'RE 100 percent (behind Miller)," said Bowa. "There's no doubt in my mind. We can't afford to give in now. Everything we've gained would be out the window. You might as well forget the union if we give in.”


Thus, as the first team to vote, it was vital to the Players Association that the Phillies support its stand unanimously.


"It's a start," said Mark Belanger, who is representing the American League players in the negotiations. Belanger attended Miller's meeting with the Phillies. "We want to give the man in the job (Miller) as much strength, as much authority, as we can.


"I DONT think they (the owners) realize we're unified. Starting out with a unanimous vote was important, but I think you'll find a lot of unanimous votes. The more we meet, the more people understand what's going on, the more unified we become."


"I don't think any player likes the word 'strike,'" said Rose. "But you can only put your faith in what Marvin Miller has done over the last 14 years (since he became director of the association).


"It doesn't appear to have a chance to be worked out. Hell, I don't want to come down here (to spring training) for nothing. I get the impression the owners don't want to negotiate. It's a little too late to be just talking about things. Based on what Marvin has said, if negotiations don't pick up, it's (a strike) a good possibility. It's not something I want, but realistically it may happen''


PERHAPS THE only light at the end of this labor tunnel is the chance players will go on with the 1980 season, which begins April 9, without a contract. That, Miller says, will happen only if the owners agree in a binding way not to revoke any of the provisions of the expired agreement while negotiations are going on during the season, or if progress is made in the present negotiations before the April 1 deadline.


A strike, then, is not only conceivable, but probable. And, the Phillies took the first step in that direction yesterday.

Baseball negotiations differ


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


CLEARWATER, Fla. – The wideness of the gulf that separates owners and players in baseball's contract negotiations was never more graphically clear than after yesterday's latest round of talks.


Depending upon who you wanted to believe, the results of the negotiations were either heartening or unrewarding. The manner in which the results of the session were perceived by the principal negotiators was as revealing as anything they said after the meeting.


Ray Grebey, the owners' bargaining spokesman, termed the talks "excellent." Marvin Miller, the director of the Major League Players Association, simply laughed when he heard of Grebey’s description of the meeting.


THE TWO men had been closeted for 2½ hours in a motel meeting room here with the Phillies' Bob Boone, representing National League players; Mark Belanger of Baltimore representing American League players; John Stearns, Ray Burris and Pat Zachry of the New York Mets; Bob Forsch and Ted Simmons of the St. Louis Cardinals; National League counsel Lou Hoynes; American League counsel Jim Garner, and Dick Moss, a former Miller aide.


"It was." said Grebey, "an excellent meeting. The Players Association acknowledged 28 areas in which we (the owners) have made movement. It's not enough, but it was agreed we had made movement."


"Oh, that's too much," chortled Miller, unable to contain his mirth. "There aren't 28 areas we're talking about. Did he itemize them (Grebey had not)? I didn't think he would."


NEGOTIATIONS in the labor dispute have been ongoing for 16 weeks, encompassing 24 meetings, all of which have proved fruitless.


All we've seen so far is stalling," said Miller.


At the heart of the issue are the following proposals by the owners:


SET UP maximum salary guidelines for players with less than six years experience, unless a player signs a multi-year contract extending past his sixth year.


Establish a system of compensation for free agents that would freeze 15 players from'a roster, allowing the team which lost the free agent to claim any other player.


Introduce a pension plan which would not be based on national television receipts.


WHILE THE owners modified those proposals in late February, there has been no agreement – or even movement – on any of the key issues.


"When there are major issues to be dealt with, collective bargaining is a slow process," Grebey said prior to Miller emerging from the meeting. "I wouldn't be surprised if Marvin told you we haven't made any progress at all. But there was movement made by the owners and we expect movement from the other side. Collective bargaining is a two-way street."


In essence, Miller said exactly what Grebey predicted he would say.


"LET ME explain and you'll see what kind of crumbs he picks up as progress," Miller began. Miller went on to cite a complex but minor financial arrangement in which the moving expenses of a player traded from one team to another are paid. "The key change was the player will get the standard (moving) allowance before he submits his bills," Miller said.


"A second one was even more trivial – I can't remember it without my notes – and those two represent the only agreement we made in negotiations today. Now, if you want to call that progress, that's up to you.


"The owners' idea of a two-way street is to make an outrageous proposal you couldn't accept standing on your head. They'll hang on to it for awhile and, at some point, withdraw something that was unworkable in the first place. But now they expect you to give up something. It's like, 'I'll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge, which I don't own, if the price is right.'"


THE PRICE baseball will have to pay if an agreement is not reached is a players' strike sometime after the season begins April 9. Following a meeting Monday, the executive committee of the Players Association, of which Boone is a member, unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing Miller to begin conducting a formal vote seeking ratification for a strike on or after April 1.


Grebey declined comment on the strike vote, saying it was still under "evaluation."


Miller was here yesterday to begin conducting the vote with the Phillies. They met with Miller in the morning, voting unanimously to support the executive board if a strike is called. Miller expected similar resounding support from the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were to meet with him today in Bradenton.


MILLER SAYS he expects to conclude the polling by March 30, two days before the executive board is scheduled to meet in Dallas to adopt a formal plan of attack.


Grebey, meanwhile, has scheduled separate strategy sessions today with general managers and several owners in Tampa.